Monday, June 6, 2016

Repurposing in my Garden

An old bedroom lamp meets a broken solar light and we have a light in our sitting area at night. I saw this idea 'on Facebook' ;)

Note the other repurposed item above - the stem snapped off a glass goblet and Kelly put it to good use holding some sedum.

I'd been hanging onto an old brass headboard for years. Many times Kelly tried to put it to the curb when cleaning out the garage. It finally found a spot at the back of the yard. Aside from supporting a clematis, it also blocks the deer from coming through.

One other thing we repurposed a few years ago still supports our Halls honeysuckle. We had new neighbours who were getting rid of old iron railings... so I grabbed them. We have a fake stairway to nowhere against the garage.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Little House Hawthorn

 We were well rewarded!

Last September Miles took down two very large trees that were killing a smaller, much prettier, Hawthorn at the little house yard. Our little Hawthorn really bounced back! (I know that is an odd angle but it was the only way I could get it all in and still have it be relatively close.) We will have to wait a few years for it to straighten up but with regular trimming it will get there because not only is it alive, it is FULL of flowers. And even better? It smells FANTASTIC! It was a lot of work and we will be burning the wood forever but it was so worth it. The little house yard is so much prettier this year with the Hawthorn blooming at the same time as the iris. The Linden will be next and will bloom with peony. Then the columbine and cranesbill will take over for the summer. With the big trees gone you can actually see it all and the increase in sunlight hours, the flowering plants are looking so much bigger this year than last. It makes me want to go and find a tree to cut down. Oh happy day!!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Bright Spring Blooms

Tulips are having a rough time in my garden this spring. I'm not sure if it was the frost (and snow) we had after they started growing, or if I have something else to be concerned about. On top of that, the deer came through again this spring and chomped their way through many of the backyard tulips before they even set buds. Regardless, there's still lots of colour to enjoy!

back yard

front yard

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Tulips Thrive with Bone Meal

For the first few years I was gardening, I lamented in the spring that my tulips didn't bloom well. A lot of green but sparse blooms. After hearing advice that tulips need bone meal after they bloom, I decided to get off my butt and do something about it.

The problem is that by the time my tulips are done, I can't get at all of them to dig in bone meal unless I crawl in under growing perennials. What I did discover is that it doesn't have to be a big job. I grab the bucket of bone meal and a scoop, and simply throw scoopfuls onto every place where there's tulips.

Finally I'm getting tulips back that haven't bloomed in years... which, of course, is going to make me want to plant more in the fall.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Snow Sharks

I figure that if Danielle can have field fish, I can have snow sharks.

You can't really tell in this photo but the tip of that fin is a foot over my head. It's certainly been a record season for snowfall here in Nova Scotia.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Nursery Overgrowth

The nursery always looks terrible and this year is no different. It is completely overgrown. I can never keep up with the weeds and rarely even try. It is a big space that is contained on all sides by bush, fench, drive and a retaining wall. If it ever gets weeded, it all has to be done by hand, without shovel.

2 reasons why are shown in the photo. The delphinium and knautia will all get moved into the garden somewhere. What you don't see in the photo is 3 more reasons at the foot of all these weeds: orange viola, forget-me-not and variegated white lamium. That particular lamium is slow spreading so I am always happy when I find a volunteer. The solid orange viola has not made an appearance in my garden for 2 years now... until this one showed up.

The first 2 years we were here, the nursery was a temporary spot for everything I brought from my city garden. Long enough for the self-seeders to take hold and the bulbs to have very tiny babies. Tulips and lily randomly show up every few years. There are early orange in the nursery now that need moving. My only 'Pheasants Eye' Narcissus are in the nursery. I lost track of them before I got them moved this year.

Usually, I pull a path through to whatever I am moving. Dig it up to move and that is about all the weeding that gets done. I keep saying one of these years I will clear it out but it seems that is one of those things I like to talk about doing but am never actually going to do.

Monday, September 22, 2014

My Favourite Lily: Madrid

I am a big fan of Lily. Every time one opens in my garden I think, hmmmmmm, that might be a favourite. Then midway through lily season 'Madrid' opens and blows them all away. I am instantly reminded why she is and remains my favourite lily.

Her flowers are huge and there are always a lot of them. They open tall, almost eye level. She is a hot, bright orange that is translucent and neon all at once when the sun shines through her petals. She catches your eye in the garden no matter how far you are standing from her even with the myriad of colours she is competing with at that time of the season.

I have her in 2 spots now and I have already scoped out the third. If I am really lucky, when I dig and divide, I will end up with 4 or 5 spots!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Like Mother.... Like Daughter?

This is Moe Moe. We took her in when she was in need of a home and I could tell you all kinds of wonderful things about Moe Moe but this post is not about her. It is about her daughter, Nazareth - and maybe my catmint.

When we got a call that Moe Moe's daughter needed a home, we didn't hesitate. She was Moe Moe's daughter - our granddaughter! We were going to pick her up.

We were told her name was Nazzy, which I did not like at all but she was likely too old to change it. Dogs are easier that way, they don't care what you call them. A few days later, we found out it was Nazareth, which I like much better.

This is Moe Moe's daughter, Nazareth. Turns out it didn't matter what her name was because I almost exclusively call her 'fat girl' or 'baby girl' because she squeezes herself between me and the keyboard and coos at me which of course necessitates that I talk baby talk to her.

Miles alternately calls her 'fat girl' or Garfield because she has a lot of very Garfield-like attributes. Every once in a while, one of us will call her Nazareth just so she doesn't forget her name.

In reality she is a dog-like cat. She does not care what you call her. She will sit with you when you sit, follow you when you move around and talk to you the whole time. We have all experienced the joy of having her here and only the catmint has suffered. All the cats like to roll in the catmint patch but none of them can flatten the middle of it in quite the same way. The catmint patch has been in this spot for 11 years and has survived many cats. I would not be surprised if I have to buy catmint to fill in next year. She is worth the effort though.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Like No Other


Last year, Nyla asked me to dig a Heliopsis out of her yard. Not the kind of thing I would have bought for myself. The foliage, which is all I could see when I dug it was weedy looking to me. The description of 'daisy-like' flowers was appealing but not very exciting. I like daisy though and I love a lot of the 'daisy-like' flowers... Osteospermum comes to mind. Plus, I have too much space and not enough budget to just turn things away. So I dug, drove it home and planted it toward the firepit from the 'Therese Bugnet' rose bushes. Then I forgot about it.

I had 'Loraine Sunshine' and I love it so I had an idea of what to expect. Of course, I wasn't expecting anything as showy as Loraine.


What a wonderful surprise it was to find out that it is showier with bigger and more flowers that last forever in the garden! Weedy foliage indeed! That hardly matters if the foliage is going to be absolutely covered in flowers for the whole season.

This is just the first year in my garden for this division. I can hardly wait for year 3 when it comes into its' own. There are a lot of annuals that fill with flowers like this for ages in my garden, Gazania comes to mind. But no other perennial gets this full of flowers from the start of the season all the way through.


Monday, September 15, 2014


This year we got to pruning, trimming and cleaning up the centerpiece, vastly improving our view from the house. Before we did that, it looked like one great big tree that grew to the ground instead of three trees and a shrub. What I didn't discover until we were done is that it vastly improved the views from the centerpiece itself. The Elderberry really gave us a show.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Roses, Roses

I have a lot of roses but most of them struggle to get full size. Aside from the ever rampant 'Therese Bugnet', none of my roses have reached full size. Many of them are climbing and lack something to climb on. My fault. Some of them are in spots that are too dry or have too little sun. My fault again. None of them get fed enough. Oops, that's my fault too!

My roses survive in spite of me.

Yet, survive they do. For 11 years here since they were the first plants I put in. They always bloom which is nice because most roses are long blooming. They smell great... not as good as lilac but close. They do last much longer than lilac though so I suppose its all a trade off.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Days End

The daylily are finishing here. A lot can be said about 'Stella D'Oro', much of it not nice. I regularly talk about how reliable she is but the other great thing about her is that she is long lasting. The first daylily to open in my garden and still going strong today. Through the bloom times of all the others, she is still blooming strong with the last of them.

I would love to divide and move her to spread around her good cheer but my Stella is interplanted with

'Autumn Red' and separating them seems like a challenge for another year. Maybe I will just move a patch and see what I get. Plant it somewhere where it won't matter if it is both... or either.

I don't have a favorite new one this year because there are so many new ones that are stunning. But if I was forced to pick a favourite, I would have to consider the unknown red from Heike's garden.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Picture Day

Every day is picture day in my garden. At least once a day I wander around with my camera in hand. Mostly the dogs ignore my efforts, sometimes they find their way into the background of my garden pictures. I usually keep my eye out for that in an attempt to avoid butt and bathroom shots.

The other day, Judy's little lime hosta caught my eye while I had camera in hand. I didn't notice until I was looking at the images on my computer that it caught Maggie's attention to. Usually, if they are the close when I am taking pictures, the dogs are trying to knock me over. Apparently, she just wanted to see what was so interesting.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Pincushion Flower in Red

This Knautia was here when we moved in. The pincushion flowers are lovely and the first flush is gorgeous, reaching its peak when the plant itself is a compact little mound. But that is the best of it and athough it probably last longer than I would admit, it is very short-lived when compared to the rest of the gardening season when I have to deal with a plant that is a complete disaster.

It is weedy and can get really leggy. It can be cut back and will produce a second flush but it is pitiful to see. By fall, it will be flat and sprawling. To top that all off, it self-seeds voraciously and the seedlings are splayed out and squat.

It is resilient. I will give it that. It will grow anywhere and stretch to reach the sun. In the nursery, it blooms as high as the delphinium. Of course, if I ever weeded the nursery, all thse blooms would come tumbling down!

I've yet to find the permanent spot where I can tolerate it but I keep moving it every year, still looking. This means that I now have Knautia everywhere .

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Dragonfly and the Frog

This story starts with mosquitoes. In late spring, our yard was full of them. I think I went through a whole can of Deep Woods Off in one week. Then, much to my delight, I woke up one morning in early summer to find the yard full of dragonfly. I really mean full. They were everywhere. I couldn't move without a cloud of them moving in front of me. We can sit at the fire today and watch clouds of them fly above us. The mosquitoes mostly stopped being a problem.

A couple weeks later, a massive amount of frogs showed up in the yard. They too, were everywhere. Hiding in the garden, the lawn and even in the gravel of the sideyard and drive. One day I stood in one spot and was able to turn around in a circle and take pictures of 9 different frogs around me and frogs are good at hiding! They are entertaining and come in at least 4 colour patterns that I have seen. Some are small, some are huge. All of them panic when people or dogs are on the move. After a day or two, the dogs knew we did not want them to hunt the frogs and most of them were resisting the urge.

I was as delighted with the frogs as I was with the dragonfly. Until last week. I was standing at the raspberry patch, eating berries when a frog came summersaulting out of the nursery and landed on his feet in the drive right at my feet. My firtst thought was, WOW, that little guy can jump high! Then I looked down and saw the dragonfly sticking out of his mouth. Not very much of the dragonfly either. Not sure why I didn't make the connection before I saw it but I have it now.

It is officially open season on frogs in our yard. I have released the 4-legged frog hunters, who are not normally allowed to hunt in the garden, in hope of giving the dragonfly a fighting chance. And so I don't see the mosquito population double overnight.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A flurry of unexpected p!nk

When I first started gardening, pink was my colour. Everything I bought and planted was pink. Then I fell in love with something orange and everything changed. Although yellow was the last colour I came around to, today you can find every colour bloom in my garden except coral, or salmon, whichever you prefer to call it. To me it is one colour. That odd colour that in pale or dark shades, looks good with no other colour. I admit, I have often thought of planting a single colour border in those shades because what gardener wants to be missing a colour? lol.

Recently, a flurry of unexpected pink has arrived in my garden. I was certain my Acapulco lily was lost, yet here it is blooming up a storm! There are 2 pink daylily, neither of which was expected. 1 was given to me as yellow and while it has yellow, it is very pink from a distance. The other I have still not been able to figure out what it is or where it came from. My map is either incomplete or wrong. Hazzards of rushing to get everything in before snow. Every summer, I come to regret my lack of recordkeeping in the fall.

This rush of pink has renewed my appreciation for pink flowers and had me doodling pink patches into the map that I might want to add.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Anyone seen my spade?

I have several spades. Several shovels, hand diggers and rakes. Our yard is big. I don't want to have to walk a block to grab a spade when I need to dig a small hole. I leave the spades upright and either leaning on something or stuck in the dirt and standing. It usually makes them easier to find.

Clearly, I have not been digging enough in the front if the Virginia Creeper had time to overtake my spade leaning on the tree. This kind of thing happens more often than you would think. For instance, I have at least 7 hand diggers and for over a month now, I have not been able to find one! I think most of them are out there somewhere under the plants but it is possible one dog or another has dragged a couple away into the fields. Not likely, but possible. Our dogs usually drag things into the yard, not out.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The corner of the boardwalk

The Boardwalk Garden has always had its' challenges. When we moved in, it was totally shade from trees overhead. Slowly, we have opened it up a bit but the reality is that we are not willing to remove the trees from around the house. They are what keeps the house protected from the weather and, importantly, cool in the summer! So it still remains, largely a full shade garden.

They don't actually mean full shade when they label plants full shade. Because to a plant, and consequently to a gardener, full shade really means 'not much sun'. There is an expectation that there will always be some sun. Its like blue meaning purple in flower talk. You can't overthink it or it will drive you nuts. Finding plants that will grow in this garden has been a long journey full of dead plants.

The second challenge is our pets. Both cats and dogs alike love this garden. The cats love it for the large patch of catmint just off the deck. They roll in it a lot. The patch always seems to survive them but some years, it is a pretty flat patch in the middle. The dogs love it for the shade. There are lots of places to lay with the sideyard adjacent to the garden and the boardwalk on the other side but they love laying in the cool earth. Or should I say, laying in the hole they have dug in the cool earth. There are parts of this garden I have surrendered to the dogs. Not bothering to plant there anymore.

Another difficulty is that dogs always take the shortest path to the target and when they lay in the shady sideyard and a vehicle pulls in, the shortest path is directly through this garden. I have still not decided if I will continue to leave this path unplanted or if I am going to try and build some sort of tall-ish barrier to discourage them. I will probably follow their cue and take the path of least resistance. The path is likely here to stay, I do not want a dog with a broken leg and that is always the danger with a tall-ish barrier - you run the risk they try to jump.

Hosta, Lady Slipper and of course, Lamium, do well here. Last year I tried Columbine. This year they are the saddest looking Columbine I have ever seen. I will move them. Add hosta in spots and try something else. Coral Bells did not work either but I have been trying to persist with one specimen. This is the year, though, that I take pity on her and give her a happier home. Not sure where I will move her to yet but her bags are packed and she is just waiting for me to find her a little bit more sun and maybe a little less damp.

Which brings me to the final challenge in this garden. It is always damp. It never dries out completely. It is a raised bed garden that was built by the previous owner and filled with garden soil, surrounded by rock in a full shade setting. It wicks up water and hangs onto it forever... and a day. It is why the dogs like to dig sleeping holes in it. Summer afternoons, you can count on at least two of them sleeping here.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Karma Candy One

Karma Candies are my thing. I like to look for them, notice them, savour and enjoy them. Then I like to share them. A Karma Candy is when everything in the universe comes together in an unexpected way all for the benefit of you (or in my case, me)! I got not one, but two Karma Candies in my garden this year, all from the kindness of a friend.

Last year, Heike gave me two daylily divisions (well, actually, she let me dig up her garden) one of which was 'red' and one of which was 'yellow'. That was the totality of the description. Red sounded good to me. Never met a red daylily I didn't like. Yellow had me seeing bright, dark, golden yellow and feeling a little worried. I am not overly fond of yellow and really dislike a lot of yellow shades. I always think that if I don't like the flower, I will get rid of the plant but when you have a lot of space, you never really get rid of anything. The Knautia here is a good case in point. If I bring it home, I am usually stuck with it. But I am always willing to take a chance on a flower so I jumped at the chance to take them both.

Last week, I stepped into the garden and immediately noticed her. Heike's Daylily, 'Little Rainbow'. Isn't she stunning? In fact, when I saw her I thought now who are you and where did you come from? I got a load of plants at an end of season sale that were not all blooming last year so I went to my garden journal to figure out the puzzle. She was unexpected.

As I stood in the garden with my camera and journal sketch that passes for a garden map here, it really looked like the daylily in this spot should be Heike's yellow. Clicking away trying to get every angle, I kept thinking my map had to be wrong. Surely she would not have described THIS as yellow!

So I start texting pictures and peppering her with questions. Does your 'yellow' daylily have any pink in it? Is this it ? Then came the answer. Yep, this is it. But she is soooooo much more than 'yellow'. She is a rock star. My new favourite. 'Little Rainbow'. Even her name rocks.

Karma Candy number one. Number two will be in a following post (as soon as it opens and I can get a photo).

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Showing Off Daylilies - Yellow

This isn't all of my yellow daylilies, but it's some of my favourites...

daylily So Lovely

daylily Atlanta Full House

daylily Delicate Design

daylily Jersey Spider

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Unusual Daylily

I learned something new about daylilies today. A couple of days ago I took this photo of one of our new daylilies. It's got big 7" flowers!

daylily Ada May Musick

This evening, after the rain stopped, my husband noticed something odd about today's bloom. I had to run out and take a photo - same daylily, different time of day.

daylily Ada May Musick (polymerous)

See? It's got both an extra petal and an extra sepal - for a total of 8 instead of the usual 6. We looked this up and it's called 'polymerous'. First time I've seen one, but it took Kelly to actually notice it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Heliopsis Loraine Sunshine

This is the third year for Loraine in my garden but it might as well be the first. For the first 2 years, she did not do very well. She was not getting enough sun, I think. So last year I moved her into the sun garden. She is doing very well in this spot and I expect she will stay here now. Last week, her first flower opened and she is full of buds.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Leading the Eye

I love the long view in any garden. Places where I can look through and see everything beyond the garden. In some places in our yard, this occurs naturally. We have one at the back of the yard, as you come around to the secret garden on the road. The opening to the Campground from the secret garden creates a long view of both of those yards. How much you can see depends on where you are standing but always, your eye is drawn to that opening in the bush. Although I am years from planting here, we named it the secret garden because when I look at it, I see all the flowers. I know just where everything is going to be and am pretty sure I know what the gate will look like.

Because our yard is mostly flat, we usually have to create these long views. Looking through the roses at the slide is one place we have done that successfully. The plants here are all mature, the view is set.

Our next manufactured long view will be out where the sun circles are. The roses planted to the sides they face each other are both climbing roses. Miles and I are going to build a willow arbour here for them to climb. Coupled with the lilies, dogwood and ninebark, the rose arbour will create a view that draws the eye down the longest part of the yard, no matter which side you are looking from.

Although it doesn't look quite like that now, in my head, I see it all!